Appreciation is personal and individualized to each employee. It is admiring, respecting, and celebrating your employee's talents and skills. This is best communicated in a face-to-face meeting or telephone or video technology to allow for a more personal connection. And yet can be effective as a handwritten note.
There are 4 steps to having a meaningful appreciation discussion with your employees.
Step 1: Think about how the person performs their work, their skills and talents. This may require you to sit back and really take note to who they are in the next meeting. What do they specifically do that makes them successful? What is unique about what they bring to the team?
Step 2: Craft one or more statements using specifics about their behaviors, skills, or traits. These do not have to be long it is more important that they are specific. This is the area that I see leaders struggle with the most so devote time to this step. You know that your statements are appreciative when they begin to sound like:
The questions that you ask during team meetings stimulate our thinking and generate great discussion.
Your focus on results and getting things done helps the team be successful.
Your sense of humor lightens the mood when the team is stressed.
Your process thinking helps ensure that steps will not be overlooked.
Step 3: Schedule time to share the appreciation. This can be done in as little as 15 minutes. The key is to not discuss their workload or projects during this time. It is solely for the purpose of appreciating them.
Step 4: Share the appreciation. This must be sincere. If at this point you do not feel that you can do this in an authentic and genuine way, make the decision to not do it at all. In order for appreciation to be meaningful it has to be genuine, sincere, and heartfelt. All of us as human beings have an authenticity reader! Your employees will know if you believe what you are saying, and if not, they will know and it will hurt your credibility instantly.
So, how will you appreciate your employees this year? Wishing you GREAT success!